UK Graduate Student Spotlight: Anthony Claes

Name: Anthony Claes
From: Belgium
Degrees and institute where received: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, 2004, University of Ghent, Belgium
Diplomate American College of Theriogenologists, 2008

One of the reasons Anthony Claes, DVM, Dipl. ACT, said he came to the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center for his doctoral degree in veterinary science is because the Gluck Center has an excellent reputation for conducting high-quality research. In addition to a large research herd, it has state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, and technology.

“The ability to work for distinguished Gluck Equine Research Center faculty such as Drs. (Barry) Ball (DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, Albert G Clay Endowed Chair in Equine Reproduction), (Mats) Troedsson (DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, director of the Gluck Center and chair of the department of veterinary science), (Ed) Squires (PhD, Dipl. ACT [hon], executive director of the UK Gluck Equine Research Foundation) and (Karen) McDowell (PhD, EMB, associate professor)allowed me to expand my research skills in equine reproduction considerably,” Claes said.

Claes’ research is primarily focused on anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), which is produced exclusively by the testes or ovaries and secreted in the circulation of mares and stallions. AMH plays an important role in male and female reproduction.

“Over the last three years I examined variations in circulating AMH concentrations in intact stallions and mares of different ages and studied molecular and endocrine changes in the equine follicle during follicular development,” Claes said. “In addition to the more advanced research techniques in the laboratory, we investigated how all our experimental findings can be translated into a clinical setting. AMH has different clinical applications in stallions and mares.”

Claes said the study initially showed that AMH is a valuable diagnostic marker for cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both testes fail to descend in the abdomen. Furthermore, AMH concentrations in intact mature stallions are influenced by season, with higher concentrations during the physiological breeding season when spermatozoa production increases.

AMH concentrations also have some clinical utility in mares. As AMH is strongly correlated with the number of follicles in the ovary, measuring AMH can help predict ovarian reserve in older mares.

Claes graduates this summer, after which he said he hopes to obtain a job where he can combine clinical work and equine reproduction research.

Shaila Sigsgaard is an editorial assistant for the Bluegrass Equine Digest.

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